As the summer sun fades and chillier nights and mornings begin to creep onto the calendar, your thoughts might turn to that four-letter word which some of us love, and others love to hate: snow. You may wonder: What are some cities, states, or countries where it has never snowed?
To be clear, when we say “never” we don’t mean places where snow rarely occurs, like in Phoenix, Arizona and Jacksonville, Florida, which haven’t observed snow in over 25 years. We mean “never” as in zero snow since time out of mind. We sifted through dozens of weather records to find locations that have never experienced snow, not even snow flurries, and here’s what we found. (Snowbirds, you may be tempted to pack your bags!)
US Cities Where It Has Never Snowed
- Key West, Florida: Not only has Key West never experienced snow, it’s never seen frost, ice, or sleet either. That’s because Florida’s low latitude and low elevation hinder temperatures from getting cold enough for snow to fall, let alone accumulate on the ground.
- Yuma, Arizona: Yuma isn’t just one of the sunniest US cities, it’s also one of the driest – two conditions which make it unfavorable for wintry weather. Snow has fallen there only once since 1878.
- Miami, Florida: While you may not be shocked to see Miami on this list, you might be shocked to learn that the city has observed snow before, albeit only once, when flurries filled the skies for about an hour during a January 1977 cold wave.
- Honolulu, Hawaii: The coldest temperature ever recorded in Honolulu is 52°F back in January 1969 – much too mild for snow. In fact, snow has never fallen anywhere on the island of Oahu in recorded history. (Snow does, however, fall several times a year on the other Hawaiian Islands, namely at the summits of the three highest mountains – Mauna Kea, Mauna Loa, and Haleakala – where the high elevations deem it cold enough for snow to form. See video below.)
Surprised cities like Los Angeles, New Orleans, Charleston, or the Death Valley region didn’t make the “no snow” list? Even places like these with balmy weather reputations have seen snow at one time or another, if only once every few years when an unusually strong cold front plunges farther south than normal.Speaking of snowless…
New York City has been experiencing a snow drought in recent winters. While the Big Apple typically sees its first snowfall in early December, during the 2022-2023 winter season, New York didn’t record any measurable snow (that is, at least 0.1 inches) until January 30, 2023—a whopping 329 days since the city’s last snowfall! This nearly beat New York’s all-time record snowless streak of 332 days set in 2020.
Are there any states where it has never snowed?
Each of the 50 states have reported snowfall at some point in their history. However, Florida, Louisiana, Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi are states where it doesn’t snow or typically see snowflakes least often.
While every state has indeed experienced snow, these US territories have not:
- Guam: Positioned in the western Pacific Ocean, the tropical island of Guam sees very warm and humid weather year-round – so warm, the lowest air temperature observed there is 69º F. That’s more than double the 32-degree threshold needed for snow!
- Puerto Rico: A snowflake has never fallen in Puerto Rico. In fact, folks there are so curious about “nieve” (the Spanish word for snow) that snow has been shipped to the island on several occasions.
- Virgin Islands: The coldest that temperatures have ever dipped in the USVI is believed to be in the 40s – not quite cold enough for snow.
Related: The Farmers’ Almanac Extended Winter Forecast
Where in the world has it never snowed?
- Dry Valleys, Antarctica: Surprisingly, Antarctica, one of the coldest continents, is also home to a place that’s never seen snow. Known as the “Dry Valleys,” the region is one of the driest places on Earth and hasn’t seen rainfall for an estimated 2 million years. Two things keep it dry: for one, the mountains are so high they block moisture arriving from the nearby East Antarctic Ice Sheet; secondly, as cold, heavy air is pulled down the mountain slopes by gravity, high-speed “katabatic” winds heat the air, instantly evaporating whatever water droplets it might have contained.
- Cairo, Egypt: With its desert climate, precipitation of any kind is a rarity in Cairo (it averages one inch of rainfall each year). There was a near-snowfall in December 2013, but the tiny white precipitation turned out to be soft hail, not snow.
- New Delhi, India: Not only do temperatures in India’s capital city rarely dip below the 32° F freezing mark, but winter there is considered a dry season with very little precipitation. As a result, Delhi has yet to experience snowfall; however, it does see frost from time to time.
- Fiji: The island-nation of Fiji sits in the South Pacific Ocean and boasts tropical temperatures year-round. Even its average winter temperature of 73º F is much too tropical for snow!
In case you’re wondering: yes, it has snowed in the Bahamas (in 1977 only); in the Caribbean (most recently in March 2016 on the island of Guadeloupe), and in the Sahara Desert (most recently in January 2022).
What would happen if we lived in a snowless world?
While a snowless world may sound like paradise to some, including winter drivers, be careful what you wish for! Believe it or not, snow plays an essential role in maintaining the Earth’s climate. Without it, sunlight that hits snow- and ice-covered landscapes wouldn’t be reflected back out into space like normal – it would instead be absorbed by the ground. Once absorbed, this extra heat would warm our average annual air temperature by as much as 9°F over North America and our winter season temperature by more than 16°F, according to one study from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Snow isn’t just reflective, it’s also insulating, like a blanket. This might sound counterintuitive since snow is so cold, but it has less to do with temperature and more to do with the fact that as snow accumulates, it traps a multitude of air bubbles (air being an excellent insulator) between its layers. If snow disappeared entirely, soils in usually snow-covered areas would remain exposed and would cool considerably, becoming permanently frozen ground – aka permafrost. And as agriculturists well know, frozen soil presents all sorts of challenges for crops. It can also increase flood risks, since, in a warmer world, any precipitation that falls will fall as rain, but not be able to soak into the frozen ground.
Join The Discussion
Where you disappointed to learn that there are no states where it doesn’t snow (or has never snowed)?
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Tiffany Means is a freelance writer and a degreed meteorologist. She specializes in weather forecasting and enjoys making the subject of weather (and the science behind it) more relatable. She currently resides in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina.